Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Wal-Mart's Plans For Slate Belt Super Center Are Dead

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingSlate Belt Concerned Citizens are "very happy," according to a press release circulated today by John F. Maher. Their long battle with Wal-Mart is over.

Chalk one up for the good guys.

The suits have withdrawn plans to develop sixty acres in the slate belt with a Wal-Mart Supercenter, Lowes and twelve other retail shops.

Northampton County had set aside $3 million in bond money for an access road to this monstrosity. Until now, Northampton County Council has resisted repeated attempts by Ron Angle to revoke this public funding of private enterprise.

Now that the project is dead, Angle has already asked executive John Stoffa to direct officials to return the money to the county. It is badly needed for $3 million in cost overruns for the courthouse and a prison expansion that is already overcrowded.

But who knows? A casino would be nice up there.


Anonymous said...

That's great Bernie. A major victory for those who fear change and progress! The Slate Belt (Motto: "We're backward and durn proud of it") is now guaranteed several more decades of decline.

Way to go!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 9:22,

Whew! A Wal-Mart Supercenter and Lowes are "progress?" That's absurd unless you're a developer or a lawyer reperesenting them. It's cvertainly no progress for the low paid employee who has to seek state assistance. And this is part of the $111 million megabond that was supposed to produce 20,000 "high quality" jobs.

Anonymous said...

You're right! Let's do nothing. Let's wait for the slate industry to pick up.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'm not saying that we do nothing. I am saying the lassdt thing this area needs is another Wal-Mart or Lowes. And it certainly is no help for the slate belt. Northampton County has been "discovered." Industry does not need any tax incentives or freebies to be drawn here. We need to be spending public dollars to preserve open space. We don't need to spend public money to make developers rich and put us further into debt for lousy jobs.

LVDem said...

Spending public money to turn over a corn field in the name of Wal Mart? When did that become progress. Nobody will ever confuse me with being against progress, but a new wal mart isn't progress.

Invest in cities and towns to balance the market that places our urban cores at a disadvantage. Invest in infrustructure and the like where people already have goods and services, not out in the townships.

Preserve open space through our towns and open space programs b/c walmart will build something in the slate belt soon enough.

Anonymous said...

This has absolutely nothing to do with fearing change or progress. Fighting a shopping center at that location had everything to do with the location being absolutely horrible. The traffic problems from doing retail at this site would stretch far and wide, and there was no easy way to mitigate them.

There is a huge parcel available directly adjacent to Route 33 - let a developer put a Wal-Mart there and there would be nowhere near this kind of opposition.

This site needs those good-paying industrial jobs we were promised. The bond issue was/is a joke!!! Perhaps we all need to march down to the next County Council meeting and have the rest of the money pulled from this unscrupulous developer. I am sure Mr. Perin is busy out there shopping for another developer for his property as we speak.

Bernie O'Hare said...

LVDem, I know you and I disagree over the public funding of private enterprise. But even I can see the long-term benefits of funding that helps to rehabilitate our urban cores. But there's nothing to be gained by converting open space and woodland in the slate belt into a retail development. If the county truly believes in making open space a priority, then this kind of development should be discouraged, not encouraged with an infusion of public money.

It can't be denied there is a traffic nightmare in Wind Gap. I'd be interested to see what LVPC and PenDot thinks about solving that situation. And I believe LVPC opposes that road, believe it or not. I do not know that as gospel truth, but heard that from a former member.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Windgapper, Well said and thanks for bringing this to my attention yesterday.

Anonymous said...

What's all the roadwork they're doing on the old LNE railbed on PA 115 behind Cramer's (is that still called Broadway up there?) & on Speer Avenue on the Plainfield Township/Pen Argyl Borough line? I assume this is some sort of transportation infrastructure related to developing the site, right? Or is it gonna be a future trash truck bypass to GCS off 512 just west of Pen Argyl?

Anonymous said...

The LVPC did not oppose the public road that would have been built with bond money. If the County wanted to fund a road, and Plainfield and Pen Argyl wanted a road, go at it and it would assist in creating some good jobs, by all means, go at it.

The LVPC did not like the Wal-Mart plan not using the road for anything more than deliveries, and as a result the added congestion on Route 512.

What the LVPC oppossed was the addition of any new interchanges on Route 33. This is a broad policy of theirs. They have oppossed interchanges on 33 and 78.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 8:26, I appreciate your insight. Today I spoke with another county official and was told the LVPC did NOT like that road. The reason I was given is that the road was far too close to some environmentally sensitive areas. Now the best source for LVPC's objections, if any, is LVPC itself.

Anonymous said...

Would be great if the LVPC & Norco would see fit to incorporate a public pathway - a rail trail - as part of that project. That would be in keeping with the region's & the state's open space & outdoor recreation plans & policies.

A trail corrdior along that old LNE railbed could link Lehigh Gap in the NW corner of the county to Delaware Water Gap in the NE corner & connect many of the Slate Belt communities along the way, like Wind Gap, Pen Argyl & Portland.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The old L&NE RR line is interrupted at various points along the path you describe. Pieces were sold off for development, especially in Pen Argyl. But it would still be good to start purchases like you mention. This could serve open space or could be used as a form of light rail, which is beginning to get some momentum here in the LV.